Best Skincare for Singapore Weather: Dermatologist Guide
Are you searching for the best skincare in Singapore? Does the hot humid weather in Singapore affect skincare choices? If you have traveled to cool and dry climates, you would have noticed the difference. The skin is a complex organ that acts as a sensor of environmental changes. Ideally, it is able to adapt. When the weather is drier, the skin produces more sebum to hydrate the skin. In humid climates, sebum regulation occurs to minimise excessively oily skin. Healthy skin is able to adapt to these environmental changes. We ask the founder of our beauty pharmacy, board certified Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin about how to choose the best skincare for your skin.
Effective skincare to use in Singapore
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Singapore’s climate is unique in that there is a near 100% humidity level year round.
This is good news for those suffering from dry skin. However, soaring tropical temperatures mean that overheating occurs. Increased sweating worsens many skin conditions. This is because sweat contains waste substances produced by the body, which irritate skin. This can lead to eczema flare ups. For those suffering from oily skin, humid tropical weather in Singapore encourages oil production.
There is higher risk of secondary bacterial infections. Such skin infections usually does not affect individuals without acne. Acne prone skin can be susceptible to a type of skin infection known as gram negative folliculitis. Gram negative folliculitis presents as pus filled bumps on the face and can lead to worsening acne, cysts and even abscesses.
Acne creams suitable for Singapore climate
The best type of skincare used in a tropical climate like Singapore must be undergo careful consideration. The active ingredients present should be helpful for the skin condition. For example, acne undergoes treatment using antibacterial creams to target propionibacterium acnes which causes acne flare ups.
Such acne formulations are preferable in a lightweight form because it is less oily on skin that is has constant exposure to a humid environment. With the advent of mask wearing, many of the traditional acne creams under occlusion cause irritant contact dermatitis. These include drying pimple creams containing salicylic acid, tea tree oil, calamine, sulfur and benzoyl peroxide. The condition may in fact worsen because of the warm and humid weather in Singapore.
Skincare formulated for temperate climate is different from tropical settings
In temperate climates, skincare that have a more moisturising base is preferable. Skincare formulations vary from lotion, cream to ointment. These are the different states of topical preparations which we use to describe the texture of different skincare types.
In a tropical climate like Singapore, day skincare is best formulated as a serum or a lotion. The downside is that it can reduce the efficacy of certain ingredients. Heavier textures such as creams and ointments seal in moisture. This enhances the absorption of active ingredients.
The best daytime skincare for Singapore weather for combination/oily skin is in a lotion/emulsion formula.
Best skincare options for dry skin in Singapore
What constitutes the best skincare for Singapore’s humid weather? Is this different from temperate climates?
If you have dry skin, a cream may be more suitable. Ointments which have an even higher oil component than creams may be too occlusive. If you suffer from moderate to severe eczema, your dermatologist usually would recommend moisturising creams and ointments as a supplementation to your conventional eczema treatment.
Best skincare for Asian skin types
Do western skincare formulations differ from asian skincare? Should asians use asian skincare formulations? Should Caucasians try asian skincare formulations?
Need help Identifying the best skincare for your skin type and climate?
Western skincare formulations are indeed different from Asian skin care. Korean cosmetics use botanical extracts as the dominant anti-aging ingredient. Western formulated skincare commonly include AHAs, salicylic acids as well as retinols which work well on Caucasian skin types. This is not so popular in skincare formulations for Asians. Skin of colour is more prone to hyperpigmentation.
For example, Asian skin easily develops post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring. Over the counter AHAs, BHAs and retinols can all worsen hyperpigmentation in skin of colour, especially if there is an irritation or allergy.
For this reason many over the counter skincare products formulated for the Asian market do not contain these active ingredients.
Top Skincare options for Asian skin
Highly tolerable skincare active ingredients work by enhancing the antioxidant capacity of the skin. This helps skin deal with oxidative stress. Antioxidants are very important because they help your skin become more resilient.
In the Chinese cosmetic market, there is some skincare influences from traditional Chinese medicine. The Korean cosmetic industry develops advanced cosmeceuticals in conjunction with dermatologists. The research collaboration with dermatologists helps ensure skincare effectiveness and tolerability
The added benefit of using anti aging skincare formulations for Asian skin is it tends to have very good toleration with skin. For those with lighter photo types such as Caucasians, sensitive skin users may find these more suitable than traditional anti-aging formulas.
How to find the best skincare to solve your skin problems?
The truth is, not all skin conditions have a cure by skincare alone. However the cosmetic market is increasing its collaboration with dermatologists because skincare can cause or worsen skin conditions. Many over the counter active ingredients also have newly discovered pharmaceutical properties that can help those with active skin conditions. These are what we know as cosmeceuticals.
The best skincare for your skin type really depends on whether you have untreated dermatological conditions. If untreated, no amount of skincare can help active acne, rosacea or eczema. In connection with a proper treatment regimen prescribed by a board certified dermatologist, cosmeceutical skincare is the best skincare for long term skin maintenance. The Multi-CERAM cream formulated as a prescription emollient device helps eczema sufferers to wean off topical steroid medications faster. Long term steroid use causes a form of drug resistance known as tachyphylaxis. It also can thin the skin and cause steroid related side effects. Not using topical steroids at all when it is prescribed by a dermatologist is a bad idea. This can lead to worsening symptoms such as the red man syndrome or the most severe form of eczema which we know as erythroderma.
Best skincare options for those with sensitive troubled skin
If you have acne, eczema, rosacea perioral dermatitis, these are active conditions which must undergo treatment by a board certified dermatologist. Many of these require long term follow up and prescription medication. A dermatologist recommended skincare regimen is equally important to support treatment and skin recovery.
Prescription skincare is for use over a definite period of time. Thereafter, dermatologists advocate topical application as the best skincare maintenance regimen.
Besides topical treatment, physical therapy is helpful to prevent flare ups. Physical therapy for acne, rosacea eczema and hyperpigmentation can be in the form of LED photon light therapy devices.
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Best Skincare Textures for Singapore’s climate
However effective skincare is, users will not use uncomfortable or unpleasant products. Skincare that is cosmetically acceptable to the individual encourages them to apply it.
Thick and occlusive skincare creams, in Singapore’s humid climate, are not going to work. There are also skin problems that can result from such occlusive skincare. For example, occlusion acne also known as acne cosmetica. Certain types of folliculitis can also result from using inappropriate formulations. In Singapore’s humid climate, skincare misconceptions promoted by TikTok trends can be seriously harmful. Skin slugging is an honestly misplaced use of a technique which is used by dermatologists to treat moderate to severe body eczema. On facial skin however, it is highly inappropriate in Singapore’s humid climate.
Choose your skincare wisely. There are a few important considerations when it comes to the type of effective skincare. Choose skincare that is suitable not just for your skin type, but also for your local climate.
Best skincare to use in air conditioned environments in Singapore
How air conditioning affects skin: Living in the tropics but in air conditioning all the time? A facial mist is the best on-the go moisturiser for those with combination, oily skin. It is practical and also delivers non oily moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid.
If you are in air conditioning mostly, your skin has to deal with increased transepidermal water loss to the environment. If you are always outdoors, then skin problems can occur with high humidity and heat.
Best skincare suitable for outdoor lifestyles in Singapore and sports
Your skin type also plays a role. Dry, combination and oily skin types react differently in a tropical climate like Singapore’s. There is good news though.
The best skincare formulations do exist, according to dermatologists. The best skincare is one that is well tolerated by ALL skin types. There is a concept which we know as universal skincare. This is essentially meaning skincare formulated for all skin types.
Traditionally, this is skincare recommendations by dermatologists as part of treatment regimens.
Are personalised customised skincare formulas the best skincare to get?
The best skincare products are promoted now as personalised or customised skincare. How true is that? It is important for us to revisit the fundamentals of how skincare undergoes formulation. Firstly, is personalisation always better or is it just a marketing gimmick? If you look into how personalised skincare formulations work, you will understand better. Personalised is not bad at all, but it is not superior unless it treats specific conditions. Rosacea, for example, can now undergo treatment with cosmeceutical regimens as well as prescription medication.
For personalised skincare formulas, there is a common base. The user or the cosmetic brand can then modify it with different active ingredients in a way that remains active and well tolerated. Making your own skincare from scratch is a nice feeling, but it’s not scientifically accurate. The science behind cosmetic formulation is really keeping active ingredients stable and effective. From a dermatologist’s perspective, the best skincare has to have excellent toleration by skin and also show good effects on skin. Active ingredients do matter. I consider some as outdated active ingredients. For acne, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil are examples of such. All of these have gradually been phased out because of ineffectiveness and skin irritation potential.
Best skincare for sensitive skin in Singapore
Botanical Actives over Synthetic Cosmeceuticals
Our pharmacy focuses on best practices such as using botanical actives with low irritation potential to treat acne bumps. This includes chlorella vulgaris, an algae extract that helps to control oil production. Berberine, used in traditional herbal medicine for treatment of acne, is known to have antibacterial and anti-Inflammatory effects on skin.
Dermatologist recommended Skincare for Singapore Climate
Singapore’s humid climate also means that lightweight formulas are preferable over heavy creams or ointments. We develop our day moisturisers and treatment formulas as an emulsion which is an oil and water formulation. This lotion formula is easily absorbable by the skin and invisible.
Multi-Tasking Minimalist Skincare for Busy Women
The night moisturiser is simply the day moisturiser in usage with a larger quantity. This is an example of how marketing plays a role in terms of encouraging one to buy more types of skincare when in fact only one moisturiser is the recommendation. Just a well formulated day moisturiser can be used liberally in the evening for example as a sleeping mask. One method of increasing skincare absorption, which we consider the best skincare practice, is wet masking. Consequently, our pharmacy specialises in materials engineering that form the backbone of our mask materials. The Skin-healing polysaccharide mask uses a 100% plant based material to increase absorption of skincare products.
Using a single effective and tolerable product in multiple ways is far better than using many different types of products which can have little to no increase benefits on skin. So, if you’re looking for the best skincare product in Singapore, we hope you found these tips from our dermatologist useful.
Need help on choosing skincare or keen to try our prescriptive skincare? Book a prescriptives appointment with our pharmacy technician, fully redeemable for skincare products.
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